The lead-zinc-silver deposit was discovered in 1883 by a local livestock station worker and has produced over 500 million ounces of silver over its 120 years of continuous mining operations. The Broken Hill Proprietary company (BHP, later BHP Billiton) was founded in 1885 to mine the namesake deposit.
Two separate underground mining operations exist at Broken Hill - the Southern Operations and the North mine. Most of the ore comes from the Southern Operations. Ore from the North mine is shipped via conventional surface rail cars to the Southern Operations concentrator.
The deposit consists of the galena-rich Lead Lenses and sphalerite-rich Zinc Lodes at company's South and North operations. Silver mineralization occurs in both ore types but is typically higher-grade in the Lead Lenses.
The mine uses bulk mining methods and a conventional flotation mill is employed to produce a concentrate that is sold to third party smelters in Australia and Korea. The plant is budgeted to process 2.1 million tones per year.
In the fiscal year 2007 the combined underground operations produced over 1.6 Moz silver, 60,500 t lead, and 92,100 t zinc.
Broken Hill is located in the far west of New South Wales about 1,170 kilometers west of Sydney and 50 kilometers from the South Australian Border to the west.